'High trade deficit with China not sustainable in long run'
New Delhi: India on Monday said the widening trade deficit with China is not "sustainable" in the long run and asked the neighbouring country to give more market access for its products even as Beijing assured all steps in this direction.
In 2012-13, India's exports to China was only USD 13.53 billion while imports stood at USD 52.24 billion. The trade deficit was about USD 39 billion. This was against a deficit of USD 37 billion in 2011-12.
"... What is worrying (signs) for the government and the Indian industry is that we have a very large trade deficit. So, we need to collaborate with each other... Because uneven trade like this is not sustainable in long run," Joint Secretary in the Commerce Ministry Asit Tripathy said at the India-China Business Matchmaking Symposium organised by CII here.
There are tax and market access related issues in China while exporting petroleum products, ores, minerals, plastic, dyes and others, he said.
"In agriculture, a lot of products are going to China like sesame seeds, groundnut. Oil meals trade have disrupted," Tripathy added.
However, he expressed hope that both sides would resolve all the issues in order to increase exports from India to China to bridge the trade deficit.
"I am sure that in the coming days we will handle it so that trade can grow," he said, adding Indian products are 'excellent' in quality and quite competitive in the world market.
"Indian products are of high quality and competitive at the world stage, so there is no reason why Chinese consumers and industry cannot look at it," Tripathy said.
Further, he also asked the Chinese business delegation to explore business opportunities in the Indian services sector.
"India is world leader in IT and ITeS... Legal, architectural and consultancy services are also very popular and competitive. The delegation may also look at the services sector in India," he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Chinese Trade Development Bureau Vice Director General Jia Guoyong said that his government is taking all steps to increase imports from India.
"We have a long-term strategy to enhance trade with India ... We are optimising imports of hi-tech equipment and simplifying import management manners to facilitate imports. We are encouraging business delegation visit for import promotion mechanism," Guoyong said.
He said a huge potential exists to increase trade between both the countries.